Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My recent interest on tea whisk

There are usually two or three tea whisks that are ready in the preparation room at my tea class.  You can use whichever you want.  Lately, I realized that I’m often choosing the one with few splines.

Tea whisks usually have around 30 to 120 splines.  The whisks with fewer splines are used for koicha, thick tea.  The ones with many splines are often used for usucha, thin tea.  The rule seems to depend on school traditions.  I have never thought about specific rules at my school so far.  I believe that the whisks I commonly see at my class would have the splines in the range of 60 to 100.  

You will consider many aspects when you choose a tea whisk.  The number of splins affects the fineness of the foam.  The special effect and feeling of tea whisking oftentimes depend on what tea whisk you use; elastic or rigid. I preferred the whisk with a large number of splines (100-120) when I started Sado (The Way of Tea) because I thought that it can mix tea well.  These days, I seem to care about other things too.  The reason why I pick the one with fewer splines is that it has thinner handle.   I find that a thin handle fits in my hand better, and gives me a perfect grip.

This is figure of two tea whisks.  Left: 100 splines  Right: 70 splines

The one with many splines have a thicker handle.

I told to Hiro, my wife, about it who attends the same tea class with me.  She commented that she also prefers the thin-handled whisk for the same reason.  At the class, the thick-handled tea whisk is often wet, so I guess that another disciple who attends the class before me prefers the thick one.  The one Hiro and I prefer is about 60-70 splines, and the thick one has 90-100, approximately.  How about you?  Would the thickness of tea whisk handle matter?   Are you meticulous about the grip when whisking?


  1. Hm. I like the taste of a lot of foam, so I like more tines. But this weekend I used two whisks with thin handles, and I agree that they feel nice. So I am torn! I have also read that different schools prefer different amount of foam? I read it in a magazine article here: http://teawing.co/post/17795727156/the-making-of-a-tea-whisk (keep clicking on "previous" to read the next four pages of the article). I think the magazine is called _Kateigaho_.

    1. Right, it is often said that you make a lot of foam in Urasenke style, not so much at Omotesenke, and less at Mushakoji. I agree. I find from my experience that the matcha with a lot of foam seem to have a better taste. But, I have never compared them at the same time. Maybe, I want to do a little test to find out how different the taste is with different amount of foam.